The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952 Page: 80
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the Lipan chief, forty women and children, and about sixty-five
ponies were captured.1
The most dangerous part of the raid lay in the retreat, for the
hostile countryside had been aroused. Shortly after noon, the
column, with no rest or sleep for the men, began the backtrack.
It was a night of horror and agony for the exhausted troopers,
but the Rio Grande was reached on the following morning and
was forded safely at Green Van's Ford.12 Colonel Mackenzie in
his report of this action wrote "I wish also to mention Lieu-
tenant Bullis, with the Seminole Scouts, who behaved under the
command of that gallant officer very well."13 Mackenzie had gam-
bled and won and there were no adverse repercussions from the
United States authorities. One of the favorable results was the
promotion of Bullis to first lieutenant on June so, 1873.14
The Seminole scouts were an interesting outfit. They were
descendants of runaway negro slaves and the Seminole Indians
of Florida who had fought the United States Army to a standstill
in the decade ending in 1844. They had finally been pacified by
General William Jenkins Worth, and many of them had been
transported from Florida to Indian Territory. But one band of
irreconcilables, under the leadership of the doughty chief Wild
Cat, had refused to remain put and had fled to the Mexican
side of the Rio Grande in the neighborhood of Piedras Negras.
In 1870 these Seminole Negroes were invited to enlist as scouts
for the United States Army and many of them did so, bringing
their families and settling on the reservation about Fort Clark.'5
Lieutenant Bullis was in command of this detachment from
March, 1873, until June, 1881, and during this period he led
his men on twenty-five operations in the field against hostile
Indians. These scouting expeditions lasted from a few days to a
month, usually for the longer time. Years later, Joseph Phillips,
one of these scouts, had this to say of his commanding officer:
laExtract from General Order No. 6, Department of Texas, June 2, 1873. In-
cluded in Statement as to the Military Record ... of Brevet Major John L. Bullis
15Frost Woodhull, "The Seminole Indian Scouts on the Border," Frontier Times,
Vol. 15, No. 3 (December 1937), 118-127.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952, periodical, 1952; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/m1/102/: accessed March 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.